How many times have you seen in on the internet, whether it be in news stories from sites who know nothing about Microsoft, or from commenters who love spreading false information. Or you've seen it from readers who are genuinely confused about what Microsoft plans to do. Let's help stop the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and set the record straight.
Windows 10 will not have an annual fee. Windows 10 will not charge you a yearly subscription after the free-for-one-year upgrade offer expires. Microsoft's Gabe Aul took it to Twitter just the other day to reiterate this point, after one Twitter user asked him to be clear. "@Microsoft before I go to #Windows10, you need to be clear what update free for year means? Statement leaves door open for annual fees later."
— Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) June 5, 2015
Between July 29th 2015 and July 29th 2016, you will have the chance to snag a free upgrade to Windows 10. After July 29th 2016, you will have to pay for a Windows 10 license. How much will the license cost after the free year? That's not quite certain yet, but it will likely be the same price for the OEM version of the operating system ($119 for Home and $199 for Pro). However, chances are Microsoft will likely offer a discounted special to entice users to upgrade to the latest operating system. There will not be a yearly fee to run Windows 10 after July 2016.
Unfortunately, Microsoft may have confused people by mentioning Windows 10 "as a service" causing people to believe there will be a subscription fee of sorts. There is no subscription model for Windows 10. Instead, Windows 10 "as a service" simply implies that Microsoft plans to update the operating system with smaller, more frequent updates, rather than larger Service Pack-like updates. Think of it like an app that gets updated regularly.
"Once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge," Microsoft clarified.